J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale | J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd

861 Reviews
J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest AleJ.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale

Brewed by:
J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 12-18-2000

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Reviews: 861 | Ratings: 1,513
Photo of kmo1030
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 edition

mostly clear brown with a faint tan head. i couldn't coax much out of the bottle.
the aroma is made up of a lot of dry powery brown sugar, a big aged malt background, and a lot of interesting fruit. the fruit is mostly a soft pear like quality with some caramel/buttery notes and then some fig. cocoa powder comes out with warmth. a whisp of alcohol here and there.
the taste is brown sugar disolved in a pot of caramel, and then liberally drizzled over soft roasted pears and apples. some fig and faint soft unacidic cherry weave in and out. like in all previous incarnation of this beer i've had, there is a really pleasant sort of powdered cocoa aspect towards the back of the mouth.
full bodied and mildly carbonated. again, absolutely silky, and a pleasure to drink.
a real masterpiece. seek this beer out, no matter what vintage. one of the finest crafted beers i've had the opportunity to try.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2001 Vintage, purchased at Toronados

A: Deep, murky brown color with no head whatsoever. Leaves some faint tracks of lace when swirled in the glass.

S: Holy schnikes! Loads of dark fruit here. Rich raisin aroma with lots of concord grapes, figs, fruitcake and some fermented barley notes. So rich and smooth. Really fantastic.

T: Tons of honey right off the bat. A lot of dark fruit mixed in with the honey flavor that reminds me of fig jam and grape jelly. Mouthfeel is honey-like as well. Super thick without really feeling heavy. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's the best I can put it. This is one of the better beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Afterburner
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Note: This was a 1998 vintage.

Appearance: Hazy reddish brown, with a moderate beige head that retired slowly.

Smell: The predominant note here was almost teriyaki in its bouquet. When I worked in the restaurant biz, a common "oriental" marinade was created by mixing soy sauce and pineapple. This beer has that aroma. In addition, there's a ton of malt, a hint of molasses, and a faint alcohol tinge.

Taste: Forceful malt character in the early stages, followed by maple syrup, hints of green apple, and more malt. Finish is strongly flavored of toffee. There's also a faint character at the end that reminds me of nothing so much as a gooey cinnamon roll with lots of butter. It's not a strong flavor, but it's there.

Mouthfeel: My personal preference for beers of this nature is for a thick, viscous mouthfeel with light, small-bead carbonation so as not to combat the flavor. This brew has that in spades.

Drinkability: I found this to be an exceptionally flavorful beer, easy to drink, and I certainly would have enjoyed another.

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Photo of Shiredave
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2000 vintage. Not bottle conditioned, (ie no yeast )but cellarable, I'm sure the 11.5% alc / vol ensures it's longevity, but I question whether the flavors change.We will see in time. The condition of this bottle was near perfect. Dense and clingy, slighlty off white head, mega malt to start but fresh earthy hop aroma fights it's way through around the alcohol notes. Label states only "the choicest East Kent Goldings" hops are used. This Brarley wine is as close to a US / W. coast barleywine
( more malt than Ol Crusty, more Hop than Ol Foghorn..)as I've ever tasted from the UK. This beer explodes w/ hopflavor and bitterness - all EK Golding grassiness and fruity pine. Massive amounts of malt must be used in this brew and much remains in the sweet, honey like , full bodied flavors that stack up to the uncommonly strong hop presence. As this beer warmed the alcohol notes came through a bit more ; but only a bit as the thickness and hoppiness hide the alcohol very well. If there were dyacitals and funky alcohol flavors, I couldnt find them. The warmth down the throat and into your veins keeps you aware of the Hugeness of what your sipping. This is without a doubt the best British barleywine Ive ever had and quite possibly one of the best made beers. Aged before release, exceptionally well balanced, Humongously Massive in every way... as the bottle states this beer is brewed " as a Celebration of the Brewers Art". IMHO, I think JW Lees has done just that.

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Photo of track1646
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1999 Vintage poured into a Stone Pairing glass

A - this beer pours a beautiful mahogany color..very red when the light shines through it. Not much head created during pouring.

S - Smells amazing! Dark fruit (raisins and figs) oozes out of the glass with hints of vanilla and chocolate.

T - The taste mimics the nose to a T. Huge dark fruit flavors backed up with chocolate and vanilla. No hops to balance this out...it is a malt bomb. Lingering flavors of vanilla and a mild roast in the finish. No alcohol what so ever...this beers weight is completely masked. Age does wonderful things ..i cant wait to taste some with some more time spent in the cellar.

M - Silky smooth,from front to back this beer is smooth and round.

D - The lack of alcohol burn makes this beer want to fly down your throat..but the weight can be felt (not tasted). Overall drinkability is good for a Barleywine, but it lets you know that its a sipper!

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one last night after my undergrad graduation ceremony :)

Vintage 2001 - Dec 1

A - poured cloudy, burgundy brown with a small bubble ring in my tulip chalice. No lacing.

S - very, very malty sweet, at first I was caught off guard and thought of sweet soy sauce, but I let it sink into me and realized I was detecting the beautiful aromas of dark fruits: figs and dates, mixed with a slight rum-like alcohol, a light yeastiness, and holiday spiciness. Complex, rich, and satisfying.

T - good golly... molasses sweetness, very malty, bready, a slight hint of cocoa, and deep, deep fruits. Dates, figs, and spice, nearly no hops. Alcohol is very well hidden until you feel it warming your throat.

M - medium/heavy bodied, very light/nearly non existent carbonation. Sticky and syrupy. Coats your palate nicely.

D - this is most definitely a sipper. Not only is it somewhat costly, but the alcohol is quite high (11.5%). It will sneak up on you. This is a beer you want to enjoy for a while.

Overall - I was a little scared to buy this but I'm glad I did. Extremely sweet, almost like a port or a dessert beer but still quite excellent. For the price, I would probably only drink this on special occasions. I opened this one on May 18, 2008. It is quite amazing how well it aged in 7 years. This is excellent as a dessert beer, served by itself, or shared in small quantities as an appetizer beer. Cheers to this great brew. I am eager to try the other years as well.

I will update as I try the other years. This review is of the 2001 edition.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 Vintage - Color sits as a hazy ruddy brownish orange, a finger high dark ivory head foamed up as very loosely formed bubbles and popped down quickly to a whispy haze and a micro thin ring clinging to the edge of the liquid, lace appears from off the thin ringed edge and drips right back in super fast.

Smell is malty sweet, strong amounts of caramel and lots of dullish dark fruit overlays with a mix of banana and raisin, fig and plum. Strong warming alcohol, noting ethanol-like, seeps into the nose and opening up your sinuses like a minty strong tea. A potently strong boozy nose...whew!

Taste is malty thick and sweet with a great melty-like smooth caramel, great thick feel and flavor of super fresh sweet caramel, stupendously yummy with some notes of dulled dark fruityness of raisin, plum, light orange and banana. Toffee notes mix in with a fresh claro-like tobacco leafyness. Hops show through very easy in a calmly light pineyness and bitterness. The alcohol floats in and out finding areas to sneak in and warm you up. The caramel malts are amazingly candyish and chewy thick.

A wondefully full malty mouthful of creamy thick smoothness, oh my...its nice! The finish creeps along with a nice malty sweetness of very dulled orange and caramel hugging your tongue like a big fleece blanket on a chilly evening. Goes down with an incredible ease and soothing creamy smoothness, only the warming alcohol keeps you from bigger swigs, which really wasn't all that hard to do, just that the warming hits you faster. A great sipper which didn't last long in my glass during this years first snow storm, its so damn good!

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Photo of LAp
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Sampled as a vertical in tasters at a barleywine tasting event. 2014 tried alongside 2001.
The 2014 barleywine was delicious - a bright, young barleywine that was not overly saccharine despite having the classic robust malt presence. Trace hints of hop, and a less heavy mouthfeel contributed to an autumnal palate. Excellent.
The 2001 extraordinary. An incredible window into what can happen within the confines of a bottle over a decade and a half. Gone were the light, youthful notes of trace hop and sugars. They were instead replaced with a toffee, caramel syrup. Notes of dates and figs more prominent than in almost any bottle I've tried before. A true treat to try 15 years aged.

This is absolutely a standout barleywine. One of my favorite instantiations of one of my favorite styles.

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Photo of trumpetego
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1998 Vintage opened on 1/1/08, ten years to the day after it was bottled.

The beer pours a dark brown, with a head that disappears quickly.

The smell is incredible, and much like a vintage port. Dark fruit, molasses, maple syrup, and a hint of alchohol.

Taste is more of the same. Very smooth and malty, still reminiscent of port. Dark fruit, particularly prunes, and just a hint of alchohol. No hops to speak of, but I expect this from English Barley Wines. Very sweet, but not overpoweringly so.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light with very little carbonation.

Drinkability is good for what it is: just as I wouldn't be able to drink more than 9.6oz of port in a sitting, I wouldn't be able to have more that one of these at a time. Very tasty though, and an excellent New Years evening treat.

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Photo of neorunner
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First blind beer from nlmartin in Round #2 of the Blind Beer BIF. 2000 Vintage.

12oz bottle poured into a Samuel Adams' perfect pint glass. Color is opaque dark brown with a tiny oil slick of head. Carbonation is present but hard to pick out. Aroma is amazing. Malt abound and a very strong alcohol aroma. Mellow dark fruit and a bit of cardboard in the aroma (oxidation?). Raisins and nearly no hops that I can pick out. I know Nate mentioned some of these beers were vintage and this smells the part completely. Flavor is mellow chocolate malts and a nice strong alcohol taste. Very similar to a blend of milk and bitter chocolate with a hint of almond or . I'm having to resist inhaling this beer, its great. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, it has a flavor feel that I tend to associate with oak aging of some form.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Happy Father's Day to me...2006.

Bottle inspection: looks exactly like the bottle pictured here on the website. States that it is limited edition and bottled on 1st Dec 1998.

Aroma: A wonderful blend of fig newtons, grape jelly, brown sugar, grape juice, and raisins. The grape jelly keeps coming back to the nose.

Appearance: Dense and cloudy deep amber pour with a thin tan cap. Beautiful streaming lace.

Flavor: Molasses, grapes, raisins, carmel malts, vanilla, and maple syrup. A dopplebock-like sweetness dominates. It is very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied...coats the palate and the back of the throat. A touch of drying alcohol finishes it up.

Overall impression: One to be sipped and appreciated. Top notch in my book. Glad I had the chance to try this one. Strongly recommended.

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Photo of Todd
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 275ml brown bottle. Limited Edition - 1st December 2000. No sediment in the bottle.

Appearance: A rich, slightly hazy, copper coloured beer with a magnificent foamy, creamy head. Initial pour is about 3-4 fingers thick! Head retention is outstanding -- seems to last forever.

Smell: Raisins, molasses, raw honey, buttery toffee, rich fruity esters and an almost pungent raw hop aroma.

Taste: This is a huge beer! Silky smooth and ultra-creamy with a gentle carbonation that attempts to break through a thick syrupy malt profile of rich caramel, toffee, molasses, coffee and chocolate milk, honey and raisin. All sorts of toasted malt flavours play the palate, with baked sweet bread flavours. Alcohol notes follow, and try to hide in a cornucopia of big sweet ripe fruit flavours (pineapple and sweet honey dew melon come to mind). Bitterness is just enough to tame the malt from dominating 100%, with light citrus notes. The ale finishes with a touch of buttery diacetyl, toasted malts, coffee, milk and a bit of grain flavour.

Notes: Last time a tried one of these it was a bottle of the 1986, I believe. It was staggering. For being around a year and a half old at the time of this review, the 2000 is simply to die for. There's so much complexity of flavour going on that you almost need to stop analyzing and simply enjoy it before the glass is empty.

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Photo of Manoftyr
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1999 vintage

Apperance-Pours a rich, dark and cloudy amber-red with resplendent ruby highlights, no real head or lace but hard to detract for that when it's 11.5%abv and over ten years old. Looks lovely to me.

Aroma-Wow, what an overpoweringly tangy aroma; I smell a load of dried and candied syrup-drenched fruits all mingling together in a single aroma making it difficult to pick out individual smells. I definitely smell dates in there though. Some toffee.

Taste-The taste is rather more complex than the aroma and the aforementioned candied fruits are more apparent and distinct. I get dates, plums and raisins most prominently, maybe some figs in there too; extremely sweet. Maybe the faintest hint of chocolate and winter spices towards the back of the middle and some alcohol way, way, WAAAAY in the back end and so faint it's barely worth noting. Delicious.

Mouthfeel-Low-carbonation, thick, syrupy-smooth; perfect for an English Barleywine.

Drinkability-Although this beer has no real alcohol presence it has no shortage of enormous flavors and alcoholic 'weight.' It's a sipper, but not necessarily a very slow one and at this ABV I've gotta rank that high.

Notes/final thoughts-This beer is awesome, didn't expect to like it so much and I'm beginning to suspect I strongly prefer the English interpretations of Barleywines to the hoppy DIPA-like American ones I've been mostly exposed to.

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Photo of IrishMike
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 1997 and purchased from my local liquor store at $5.75 for a 11.2oz bottle. May not be cheap, but if this is anything like my last experience with it, it's worth every single penny.

Appearance- Pours into a dark murky brown, almost black in all reality, with a head that actually manages to hold it's own despite the style and the age of this brew. tan with mild lacing. Plenty of sediment, but i wouldn't expect any less from a beer that's going on 8 years of age. Absolutely no carbonation to speak of.

Smell- an enticing blend of raisins and port-like characters with an vaguely soy sauce quality to it. Very mellow yet strong in character. No hops. None at all. Years of oxidation have caused a slight case of "wet cardboard" syndrome, thus stopping me short of giving this a higher score.

Taste- In as simple of a statement as i can make; easily the best tasting beer i have ever had up until this point. An intial hit of a unique bready/dry fruit and insanely malty profile that starts off a bit raw, but then suddenly and completely switches it's character at the half-way point to a sweet, caramel, toffee, raisiny and port smoothness that carries out until the perfect end. Hundreds of flavors packed up into one small bottle, so much so that i can't even begin to sum it up with words alone. My abilities to grasp it's nuances are far too underdeveloped; the complexity from start to finish of this is way out of my league. Resting in the background is a well balanced smoked finish. Very rich and velvety.

Mouthfeel- Rich and velvety in the mouth, with absolutely no alcohol detectable at all. Carries it's smoky finish and raisin profile for an extraodinarily long time. Beautiful.

drinkability- The only thing stopping me from drinking these one after another is the fact that they hover around $6 dollars a bottle. Maybe if i were a rich man and i could find an endless supply of these, i'd have more then one in a single sitting. As it stands i'm forced to stop at one, much to my chagrin.

At the (relatively) young age of 21, i have found the beer that i can't possibly compare another to. I almost feel bad drinking these whenever i feel so inclined. Possibly because it's so expensive, but probably more due to the fact that i know i couldn't possibly enjoy it as much as a man whose been drinking fine beer for years and can enjoy it's extreme complexity. If you EVER come across this beer, especially the 97 vintage, i urge you to not pass up the opportunity to try it out. I know it's fairly moot to state this, but this beats that one bottle of Westy 12 i had about a month back. Sure, it's all personal preference, but those are tall words nonetheless.

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Photo of fff
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Cracked open a 1999 today.

A- Deep amber, more ruby tones when held against the light. No head to speak of.

S- Vanilla, malt, honey, toffee, caramel.

T- Roasted caramel. Molasses. Liqud God. Best malty beer I've ever had.

M- Syrupy, sticky. Lingering taste in my mouth. Delicious.

D- It's too sweet to drink a lot of, and the high ABV makes it hard to drink much of it and be coherent. It's a pretty good end to a malty beer tasting session.

All in all, I am well satisfied with this beer.

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Photo of WesWes
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a darl cloudy brown color with a thin white head that fades to very little. The aroma is great. It has a warm, malty scent that screams burnt toffee. It's mellow and sweet smelling; very nice. The taste is perfect. It has a rich, malty flavor that goes down so smooth and flavorful and finishes warm with a sweet, burnt toffee taste. This is one tastey beer. The mouthfeel is perfect as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is the best English barleywine I've ever had. It exceptional in all categories except appearance. I'm a sucker for at least minimal head retention. This is truely a great beer.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Popped a 1999 to end a tasting with a few friends the other night. Similar flavors to the 1998 that I popped to celebrate the end on my second year of medical school.

A. Pours a dark amber with a thin tan head that dissipates to a creamy ring.

S. There's so much going on in the nose: caramel, honey, raisins, oxidized sweet malt.

T. The nose comes through in the mouth with the same flavors of raisins, caramel, and honey. All of these flavors sit on top a bed of sweet oxidized malt. As the beer warms slightly, some of the dark fruit flavors start to emerge.

M. Medium to heavy sticky syrupy body with light carbonation so as not to destroy the flavors coating your tongue.

1986 vintage.

A. Pours amber with slightly orange edges with absolutely no head. 4.0

S. Raisin, caramel, and some oxidation. 4.0

T. Similiar to the smell with oxidized cardboard. Maybe slightly past its prime. 4.0

M. Thin - much much thinner than 1998 or 1999. 3.5

D. Good, but not as good as a bit younger vintages. 4.0

D. The only possible complaint is that there is too little carbonation which leads to overwhelming sweetness, but if you expect this going in it's pure bliss. The best I can imagine in a barleywine. A wonderful night cap. I'm glad I have a few more of these stocked away to enjoy over the coming years.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

'97 vintage.

Poured from a 275ml bottle. Very dark brown to amber with a thin tan head that dissappears quickly leaving a ring with some nice lacing.

The nose tells you right away that this one has been aged. Hints of bread, soy sauce, plums and raisins with some alcohol hovering in the background.

The taste is wonderfully balanced. Figs, grapes, malts, and a nice dry finish that also has a certain "juiciness" to it. The alcohol is really only detectable when exhaling after a sip. Nice warming effect too.

Although I tend to enjoy some carbonation in the mouthfeel, this brew is lacking those tingly bubbles yet it doesn't suffer from it. Full without being chewy.

This would be a much more drinkable ale if the abv was lower, but then this wouldn't be the same. Paying $6 a bottle could make for an extremely expensive session.

This one really does live up to the hype. I'm really curious to see what the other vintages have to offer.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a small head that settles easily into a ring. Aroma is very strong: deep, rich malts, flush with sweet raisins and figs. The nose is almost syrupy.

Taste mirrors a lot of the smell but that's like saying an object mirrors the photograph of it. Very rich malts, thoroughly caramelized, peat, brown sugar, hints of faraway smoke and a sad tale of melancholy. A whiskey fruitiness, maple syrup, something akin to that gained from whatever lives on the inside surface of oak barrels. Alcohol is barely noticeable but it's there, with the sweetness doing a lot to keep it in check. This is deep.

Mouthfeel is heavy, slick and velvety smooth. This beverage really pushes the envelope between beer and a distilled spirit. Built to age and I imagine that the years may take down a bit of the sweetness, only improving this beer.

1999 Vintage. Heaviest bottle I've ever held.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

December 1st 1999 vintage. consumed on 3/25/08
11.2 oz bottle> Chimay goblet

This is a very vibrant ruby red-hued amber color with struggling bubbles and mild carbonation that is able to create a one-finger, bubbly but thick looking dark-tan head that dissipates quick, which is no suprise, this stuff looks very hefty. There is still plenty of thin lacing around the edge of the glass for the duration.

The aroma is very pungent with honey-soaked, freshly baked multi grain bread in the malt scent. Candied prunes, molasses, sweet, wet wheat and grains.

The flavor is comparable to a port wine-like sweetness upfront. A sweet fruity edge to the malt hits first with honey-glazed prunes and sugar covered raisins. Intense Sweetness, even sweeter than the DFH 120 Min IPA or Samichluas. Eventhough the malt is VERY complex and sweet it also features a roastie, oak-aged flavor with a mild current of chocolate. for balance we've got a nice earthy, fresh garden green's hop edge that is mild but pops out right at the end which is very effective. The yeast gives further balance with a slightly earthy-tang effect and the high ABV is very well hidden and has obviously mellowed over the last nine years! Compare this to an American Barleywine and you've got two totally different animals especially in the balance and hop impact.Personally, I find these extra sweet malt bombs a real nice "desert" beer. complexity is huge, I can only admire the Brewer for creating this stuff.

The feel is as full bodied, heavy and slick as you could possiblt achieve, it's kinda like drinking a mellow maple syrup. some would call this "flat"...this actually has plenty of life for a nine year old brew.

A true sipper, savor slowly and with your mind WIDE OPEN.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2000 vintage

Pours a murky dark copper color with a nice creamy head. Smell is sweet with notes of raisens, plum, caramel and alcohol. All I could think the second this beer hit my mouth was WOW!!! This is an amazing beer. Mouthfeel is chewy and has an unbelievable smooth thickness to it. Taste is just absolutely stellar. It is thick and syrupy and dangeorously addicting despite it's high alcohol content. Be careful not to drink this one too fast as it is definately a sipper. Simply outstanding.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage. Had to buy it online. Can't find it here in CA.

Pours a deep brown color. Nice thin tan head with a little lacing. Pretty good looking beer.

Aroma has alcohol which was surprising for a beer this old. The aroma are so complex. Lots of dark fruits and molassis and brown sugar. Smells great.

Wow. I didn't think a beer this old could taste this good. I really need to try some older beers. So cmplex. I can just imagin how big of a beer this was 10 years ago. Lots of molassis and dark fruits. Brown sugar and a little spice. I get alot of that Mexican baking sugar that comes in those cones. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is great. I thought this would be much thinner. Held it's carbonation well.

Overall such a tasty beer. I'm going to try and find older vintages.

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Photo of beveritt
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 1999 vintage. Poured from a 275 ml brown bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours with just shy of 1 finger of tan head. This settles slowly, leaving behind very nice lacing. The beer itself is the color of polished copper.

Smell: Maple syrup with bitter hop notes.

Taste: Distinct maple syrup flavor, sharp and very sweet.

Moutheel: Average carbonation level, amazing considering the age of this beer. Body is incredible.

Drinakbility: Oh how I wish I had a case of this in my cellar. This beer has held up magnificently well. developing a complex flavor profile while retaining the carbonation and bite of a young brew.

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Photo of charlesw
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Obtained in the powerbeer BIF. And, wow. People are really generous and I was very fortunate indeed!

2001 vintage on this bottle. Dark and rich and thick and malty and WOW that's a lot of caramel and sweetness and body... The wife said that it was more like drinking port than drinking beer. I say... That was freaking intense. Seriously. You like intense flavor? Over the top stuff? Yeah, you'll like it. And you won't be alone!

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Photo of abuliarose
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

'99 vintage, poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter. Opaque burnt caramel tones in the body with a little white head, this one smells a little like burnt caramel, anise and nutty toast (the malt coming through) with a nice hoppy bite over effervescent alcohol.

Mmmm tastes delicious, sweet. Again with the subtle burnt caramel and hints of roasted fig. Very warming. Gentle bitter aftertaste laced with malt. All of the flavors are very complex and well-rounded, reminding me of belgians. Maybe it's the age. A light carbonation accents these flavors very well and makes the mouthfeel smooth without being too heavy. Body is medium to heavy without smothering. It would be a little more drinkable if I could detect the alcohol less (as a barleywine, though, it has excellent drinkability); so overall it is an excellent sipper comparable in serving suggestion to port.

I must try more years of these!

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J.W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale from J.W. Lees & Co (Brewers) Ltd
4.25 out of 5 based on 1,513 ratings.
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